Thousands of one-shot J&J COVID vaccine doses expected to be shipped to NJ next week
Meagan Cappa, of Wayne, spent a month to secure COVID-19 vaccines for her parents and grandparents. Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 NorthJersey.com
New Jersey officials expect to receive 70,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson's one-shot vaccine next week after the acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency use authorization for it on Saturday.
Where those doses will go is still being determined, Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday after the vaccine cleared a panel.
Murphy said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will allow officials to "be more nimble" in distribution. It is only a one-shot dose and is much easier to store than vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna because it does not require sub-freezing temperatures.
"Having a third tool in our toolbox is critical," Murphy said. "An additional 70,000 doses in one week means another 70,000 vaccinated New Jerseyans."
Need a COVID vaccine in NJ?: This list tells you which sites have appointments available
Murphy also unveiled a plan Friday to expand vaccine access to minorities in certain New Jersey communities who have not been getting doses at the same rate as Caucasians. Details are below.
It is not known whether those sites will get the J&J vaccine, which was deemed safe and effective by an FDA report Wednesday.
The vaccine was shown to be 100% effective in preventing hospitalization and deaths during clinal trials. Overall it was 72% effective in a U.S. trial in which all ethnic, racial and age groups benefited about the same.
J&J executives have pledged to deliver enough single-doses by the end of March to vaccinate 20 million Americans. The New Jersey-based company will produce an additional 80 million by the end of June.
As of Friday, 1.9 million doses have been administered in New Jersey. Just under 637,000 New Jerseyans have been fully vaccinated with two doses.
New Jersey has been receiving about 200,000 to 300,000 doses of Pfizer and Moderna each week.
Murphy did not say what day he expects New Jersey to receive its first shipment from J&J.
"Needless to say there will be a lot of meetings and calls this weekend on exactly how to deploy these doses," he said.
Murphy has said for months that a more abundant supply will make it easier to distribute doses to the most vulnerable like James Baird, of Jefferson, who has had no luck getting an appointment despite being at high risk.
"My wife and I are both over 80, registered with the state and Morris County in January but cannot even learn how long it will be before our names get to the top of the so-called list," he said. "Others we know who are much younger with no health problems have already received both shots."
Thus far, the rollout has had a number of problems.
Murphy made more than 4 million people - those 65 years and over, those with chronic medical conditions and smokers - immediately eligible in mid-January, causing such a demand that some providers had to immediately shut down appointments.
Seniors, who make up 80% of New Jersey's 22,000 COVID19 deaths, have had difficulty booking appointments via numerous online portals. About 41% of the vaccine doses have gone to those 65 years and older, according to state data.
Getting doses to more minorities
Murphy also announced on Friday more vaccine sites in minority communities, which so far have not been getting vaccinated at the same rate as Caucasians.
In conjunction with the Biden administration, New Jersey will open five community-based in Camden, Jersey City, Orange, Newark and Pleasantville.
Sites have already opened in Somerset, Trenton, Elizabeth, Paterson and Vineland.
- Black: 4% doses vs 15% population
- Latinos: 5% vs 21%
- Asians: 6% vs 10%
- White: 55% vs 55%
- Other: 14%
- Unknown: 15%
The 10 sites are expected to give shots to about 1,800 people per week over a two-week period and then return to administer second doses.
The sites are closed to the general public. Appointments will only be handled by partnering houses of worship, community organizations and local community leaders.
Scott Fallon covers the environment for NorthJersey.com. To get unlimited access to the latest news about how New Jersey’s environment affects your health and well-being, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.